General 2016 Pictures


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Photos 24th August 2016

The GoPro Hero 4 Silver camera was in action recording a timelapse video as a thunderstorm approached. Click here to see the resulting video.


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The GoPro Hero 4 Silver camera in action.

Photos 20th August 2016

Despite a storm blowing through it was a nice day on the beach for Renée and I. After brunch at Café Rebecca when we arrived we went for a wander and then retreated inside to the Royals Shopping Center as a line of heavy showers arrived. Once the rain cleared at lunchtime we couldn't resist a round of mini golf followed by lunch at Las Vegas Grill. Then after more beach wandering and getting sandblasted by sand whipped up in the strong wind, we went to the pier which was closed due to the strong wind. Never mind. A nice pleasant day that went way too quickly. After a mandatory ice cream stop we headed home wondering where the last 6 hours had gone. Fun fun fun!


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Southend Pier from the Royal Terrace. Café Rebecca where we had brunch. 60 degree panorama of Southend Beach just East of the pier 2 hours after low tide and as heavy showers approached. A seagull shelters behind a rock from the strong blustery wind.

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Another gull. A tea cup sculpture on Marine Parade. Coffee break while we wait for a shower to go through. Looking South from the end of the High Street. Renée posing with a new pair of sunglasses. The pier from a viewing balcony at the end of the High Street.

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180 degree panorama from a viewing balcony at the end of the High Street. Renée on the viewing balcony at the end of the High Street. I've never seen so many chippies and café's in one place. Adventure Island mini golf.

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Looking East from Adventure Island mini golf as the tide comes in. Renée posing by one of the mini golf residents. Lunchtime at Las Vegas Grill. It was delicious! Three shots of a gull surfing the strong wind over the beach and achieving a hover.

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Renée on the beach wall opposite the lunch stop. Waves crashing on the beach. Another 180 degree panorama East of the pier as we get close to high tide. Another view of Renée on the wall enjoying the windy conditions.

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Gulls in a turbulent water. Renée on the waterfront close to the pier. More waves as we walk towards the pier. Southend Pier.

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The entrance to Southend Pier. This is as far along Southend pier as we got. They closed it due to high winds and no trains. My favourite café name of the day! Go on one more wave shot. A juvenile gull resting on the beach.

Photos 31st July 2016

Pictures of Bald Hill, Aston Rowant taken while visiting the Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly.


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Looking out from the hill across the plains below A closer look at the meadow flowers. A hoverfly on a Field Scabious flower. Meanwhile a Red Kite passes low overhead. In the distance Didcot Power Station looks smaller without the Southeast Towers.

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A Spotted Longhorn (Rutpela maculata) beetle. Unidentified insect moving quickly over the bracken.

Photos 9th July 2016

Flowers and views at Incombe Hole.


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Ivinghoe Beacon far left to Incombe Hole centre, as seen from the Southwest towards Pitstone Hill behind me. Greater Spotted Orchids (with small Pyramidal Orchid to the side).

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Inside Incombe Hole. TODO: Identify this flower. Thistle Flower. Large Wild Thyme flowers interspersed with Clover.

Photos 5th - 6th July 2016

At Fairmile Common, Esher, the heather was spactacular with large banks of purple flowers. Meanwhile, Park Wood in Ruislip was still a quagmire. This bridleway looks more like it would in early Spring, not July when it has normally dried out.


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One of many large patches of flowering heather. This ridleway demonstrates how wet the UK summer has been so far.

Photos 3rd July 2016

The East slope of Sharpenhoe Clappers was covered in Orchids this day as well as butterflies and other wild flowers. It was generally Common Spotted and Pyramidal Orchids that were seen. Plus a different route through the Beech forest than normal resulted on stumbling across this monument at the top.


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Common Spotted Orchid. Pyramidal Orchid. The monument at the top of the Clappers.

Photos 29th June 2016

Ring Necked Parakeet raiding the nut feeder in Kenton. Pretty bird, but it's an invader, and a regular pest these days as it eats almost anything and makes a mess, like a pretty pigeon. It's also aggressive and muscles out the other birds. The only bird I have ever seen fend off a parakeet is an ultra aggressive Male Black Cap tht visited one winter and hogged a seed feeder for the whole season, keeping all other birds away including the parakeets. Atleast the 12" anti-squirrel cages on the other feeders keeps them off.


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Ring Necked Parakeet.

Photos 24th June 2016

Harlequin Ladybirds in different stages of their life cycles on a privet hedge in St. John's Wood.


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Harlequin larva and pupa. Harlequin adults (normal and melanic forms).

Photos 21st - 23rd June 2016

Tea and gardening in the garden before the downpours, and then after a very wet night I woke up to find a Male Sparrowhawk landing on the feeding station and inspecting the flooded garden.


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Tea break in Kenton. iPhone zoomed shot of the feeders with a Great Tit feeding from an almost empty seed feeder. The restored border at the back after digging away the soil, grass and moss that had overgrown onto the stones. Mum enjoying the tea break. Two lawns mowed (including the next door neighbour's) and lots of tidying up completed before the downpours arrived.

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Four shots of a Male Sparrowhawk (although the last two are different crops of the same photo).

Photos 19th June 2016

A visit to Sharpenhoe Clappers and Bison Hill. In addition to some butterflies and moths, these pictures were also taken.


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Two Pyramidal Orchids near the East meadow of Sharpenhoe. A Skylark displaying and singing in the air before landing on a bush nearby and allowing me to get my first ever shots of this species.

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One more Skylark shot. Bladder Campion. Large Wild Thyme. Horseshoe Vetch. Common Spotted Orchid. The Beech wood at the top of Sharpenhoe Clappers that gives the place its name.

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A passing Buzzard. TODO: Identify these flowers. More Bladder Campion, less advanced than the previous plant. Bittersweet (or Woody Nightshade).

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Scorpion Fly. The chalk carving at Bison Hill. A Red Kite ridge soaring Bison Hill. A Kestrel hovering.

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The path at the bottom of the Bison Hill / Dunstable Downs ridge as we head Northeastwards. Sheep (including lambs) on the Icknield Way path between the Chiltern Gateway visitor centre and the Bison Hill car park as we head back.

Photos 8th - 18th June 2016

Kenton Coal Tit eating seed from a seed feeder and a hoverfly at the Welsh Harp.


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Two shots of a Coal Tit. Hoverfly.

Photos 29th May 2016

BBQ time!


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Firing up the BBQ.

Photos 28th May 2016

Passing a steam tractor near Markyate. I was the passenger so able to snap some iPhone pics as we went past.


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A steam tractor.

Photos 27th May 2016

A walk around Totternhoe Knolls to see the Small Blue butterfly. These general pictures were also taken.


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Parking up after riding the motorbike to Totternhoe. Bumblebee on unidentified flower(TODO). Walking along the outer rim of the old quarry to the far side from the car park. Looking back across the old quarry from the other side (Northern corner).

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The hilly pitted area North of the quarry. A buzzard flying low to the West side of the quarry. Flowers with eggs laid on them.

Photos 17th May 2016

A hare at Bentley Wood bounded across a clearing as I stood still. It was too fast for a clear shot but this isn't too bad. And for the first time I could actually see a Chiff Chaff as well as hear it sing. I could see it move with the song so the ID was 100% positive. Nice to see the source of the distinctive Chiff Chaff sound.


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Hare. Chiff Chaff.

Photos 8th May 2016

During a butterfly trip to Ivinghoe Beacon an exploration of Incombe Hole was undertaken after a previous recommendation as a good butterfly site. Indeed the scenery was spectacular. Starting from the Ivinghoe Beacon car park, hopping across the road and over the field of Hawthorn Bushes allowed access to the top of the hill above Incombe Hole. Below was a big gash in the landscape. Beyond was a small plain with Pitstone Hill in the distance all laid out panoramically. A walk down a ridge on the right hand side with a short steep drop at the end allowed access to Incombe Hole from the far side. Down the bottom was a microclimate where it was hot and almost no wind, and scores of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreaks. After walking back along the valley bottom to the blossoming trees right below the steep hill from where I started, a path allowed a steady ascent up the other side (on the left as seen from the top) to join the path from Pitstone Hill. This then wound its way up to where I started. I'm sure this won't be the last time I visit this spot.


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Looking out over Incombe Hole from the access point up top. Ivinghoe Beacon is somewhere behind me. Pitstone Hill visible in the distance. Looking down at the blossoming trees below in the hole. A nice view over the side from a grassy platform on the way down. This would be an awesome picnic spot. After emerging from the steep descent through Hawthrorn bushes this is the view that was revealed.

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Looking forward and behind as I walk back towards the hill that I started on top of. Arriving at the Incombe Hole blossoming trees from below. Ascending on the path on the far side from where I descended. On the other side is a steep ascent which others took. But it looked quite treacherous. Walking up the path from Pitstone Hill taking panoramas as I climbed.

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Walking up the path from Pitstone Hill taking panoramas as I climbed. A meadow full of Cowslips within the Hawthorn bushes between the hill top and the car park. Through a gap in the Hawthorn, the Bison Hill chalk carving could be seen.

Photos 7th May 2016

A visit to Trent Park with Renée. We parked close to Ferny Hill Farm on the North side which made a pleasant change to the hectic Cockfosters entrance. After a walk to the Obelisk and then down a ride between Moat Wood and Rough Lot and across a field to the Fish Ponds. After a look at the Middlesex University grounds on the other side (where a big building had been prominent from the start) we tracked around the South and East side of the ponds through Icehouse Wood and across a channel to a path where we found the ducklings. Then into a water garden at the end of Leeging Beech Gutter. The water garden was beautiful. After exploring we exited Westwards and followed the path round the perifery of the wood before crossing into Moat Wood to explore Camlet Moat to finish our walk.


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Looking up and down the ride that goes down into Trent Park from the Obelisk. A closer look at the Obelisk. Bluebells. The Western Fish Pond from the Eastern side. Looking South along the path between the two Fish Ponds.

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A clearer panorama of the Western Fish Pond from the Eastern side. Middlesex University building seemingly undergoing maintenance. The long branches of a pictoreque Oak tree on the Southern side of the Eastern Fish Pond. Cherry tree in full blossom. More bluebells.

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Wood Anemone flowers. A curious fallen decomposing log in Icehouse Wood with a prominent spiral pattern along the trunk. Looking Westwards from the Northeast corner of the Eastern Fish Pond. Mallard Ducks with ducklings.

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Closeups of the ducklings. Two of them appeared to be a golden albino form. Eastern Fish pond 180 degree panorama from the path on the Northeastern side. Renée in the Water Garden.

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The Water Garden. Bluebells and Forget-me-not flowers surround the trunks of two trees. Closeups of the Forget-me-nots. Renée took a picture of me in the Water Garden.

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More Water Garden panoramas. American Skunk Cabbage. Giant Rhubarb.

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A 360 degree panorama of the Water Garden as Renée poses by some pink flowers. Looking Southwestwards from the South side of Moat Wood. The hill on the other side was pictoresque at long range. Moat Wood. Camlet Moat.

Photos 1st May 2016

Barnhill with Spring in full bloom.


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Bluebells are looking at their best now. Blossom is appearing on large swathes of border bushes.

Photos 19th April 2016

General photos from a visit to Bison Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon.


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Male Pheasant and Male Chaffinch at Bison Hill. Sheep with lambs in the fields below Ivinghoe Beacon. Ridge soaring Red Kite and hovering Kestrel above the slopes of Ivinghoe Beacon.

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Ivinghoe Beacon summit on a gorgeous spring day being enjoyed by a class of school kids. Looking Northeastwards along the ridge towards Bison Hill where the chalk carving is as the class walks off that way.

Photos 14th April 2016

After a year of letting my spider plants grow amock on my window sill I decided to cut all the spider plantlings off and plant them in the cold frame as I had nowhere to put them but didn't want to kill them or bin them. Time will tell if they can survive as it is still fairly cold outside.


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Those are long runners! The plantlings planted out in the cold frame.

Photos 10th April 2016

Spring in Golders Hill Park


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Blossom. Tulips in the walled garden.

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Flowers emerging on the Magnolia trees in the walled garden.

Photos 5th April 2016

Spring on Barnhill and a Dunnock in the garden in Kenton.


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A nice patch of bluebells with pink and white varieties as well as the usual purple / blue. There are still some daffodils about. Kenton Dunnock.

Photos 2nd April 2016

Today was perfect weather for a walk from Kenwood over Hampstead Heath to Parliament Hill. The clear air provided a great view of Central London while the spring blossom started to emerge around us.


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Blossom emerging on the bushes. Views of Central London from Parliament Hill. Walking back through the woods into Kenwood.

Photos 20th - 31st March 2016

A unicorn in the sky as an ecaped helium balloon drifts past Kenton. Meanwhile an iPhone app called MSQRD gave me rather cool superman rays and a resident Dunnock is photographed in the garden.


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Long range shot of an escaped balloon. My rays look cool! Long range view of a Dunnock on the lawn.

Photos 17th March 2016

My first wander up Barnhill in Brent for a long time. Bog Trotter wellies were essential as after a wet winter it was an utter quagmire up there. But it was worth it to see spring springing. Indeed I saw my first butterfly of the year a Small Tortoiseshell. (Photos of the butterfly are in the Butterflies and Moths 2016 page.)


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This old Oak tree on the Northern slope of the woods looks just like the Whomping Willow tree from the Harry Potter films. Panorama of the summit pond. Spring blossom. Thee pictures from different locations demonstrate well how muddy the hill was.

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These catkins were attracting lots of bumblebees. Crows in a large Oak tree. Closeups of a House Sparrow in a bush as I left the hill.

Photos 16th March 2016

Some orchids in Hendon I've been looking after that Renée received as a present a year ago. The original flowers died off last year. But keeping the plants well fed and watered once a week with Baby Bio Orchid feed and plenty of light sat by an East facing window to catch the morning sunshine, the plants regenerated over the year with new roots and 3 new flower stalks growing by winter time. 23 new flowers existed by this point with more to come - more than the original flowers. So I guess I am doing something right.


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Hendon Orchids.

Photos 13th March 2016

A visit to Aldenham Reservoir.


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One of many nice views. Sheep. More nice panoramic views of the reservoir.

Photos 12th March 2016

A visit to Golders Hill Park. The spring flowers are all coming out nicely and the animals are getting all feisty as mating season gets going.


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Walking up to the Hill Garden first. Hill Garden flower.

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Panorama from the bottom end of the Hill Garden. More Hill Garden flowers. There's a Kiwi plant on the pergola. Hill Garden Pergola.

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One of several Redwings foraging in the deer enclosure. (A winter visitor.) The deer appeared to take exception to having their photo taken! Jay and Squirrel.

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Walking along the Southern end of Golders Hill Park from the deer enclosure to the water garden. Flowers in the water garden. Ring tailed coatis huddling in the cold.

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The male pheasant was putting on quite a mating display and continually running after and displaying to the female. Another male bird showing off his plumage.

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The stumpery. The duck pond. The magnolia trees opening up their flowers. Snow drops, daffodils and crocuses all in their prime.

Photos 3rd - 9th March 2016

Tulips in a vase, an animal display at Brent Cross Shopping Centre and garden birds in Kenton. The animals are replicas of the ones I used to climb on as a little kid. Alas the replicas are not quite the same and not for climbing on. And no hole in the Horse's bum to climb into either! But the colour scheme is right atleast.


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Tulips. Brent Cross Animal Replicas.

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Dunnock. Starling feeding on fat balls. Male Blackbird foraging on the lawn.

Photos 11th February - 4th March 2016

A Goldcrest came to visit Kenton in February. I spotted it flitting around the potted pine tree next to the patio door. The Goldcrest (along with the Firecrest) is the smallest bird in the UK (it doesn't look much bigger than a golf ball), and it's unmistakeable gold crest gives it its name. I ran for the camera, and it was still present when I returned. I managed quite a few pictures before it moved on. This is the first time I have gotten such a close up view of a Goldcrest, let alone taken any pictures. It's a hard bird to photograph as it moves quickly and energetically. So it was quite a buzz to get a set of decent closeups of this bird.

In March a Goldcrest was spotted again on the same pine tree. I couldn't resist a few more shots. I didn't get as many decent shots this time but I got some more interesting poses as it foraged amongst the pine needles. Curious how this bird's crest is much neater than the last one.


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Closeups of a Goldcrest foraging amongst the pine needles.

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Closeups of a Goldcrest foraging amongst the pine needles. Closeups of another Goldcrest foraging amongst the pine needles.

Photos 7th February 2016

Blossom in Sunny Hill Park is early this year as we have had a very mild and wet winter.


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Sunny Hill Park blossom.

Photos 30th January 2016

During a visit to CTC aviation in Southampton for an open day I couldn't resist a go on a simulator. The photos are of the previous person doing a good job of landing at a simulated Heathrow airport.


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Two of the CTC Aviation simulators. The nearest one simulates an Airbus A320. Coming into land at a simulated Heathrow Airport.

Photos 8th January 2016

Two foxes had a wander around the Kenton garden in the morning sunshine. Rushed iPhone pictures captured the evidence before they leaped back over the fence. Meanwhile the FZ200 caught the birds on the feeders. Blue, Coal and Great Tits continue their regular commute from the bushes to grab a seat to eat back in the bushes. The Goldfinches, once a rarity, continue to be appreciated now they are pretty much every day regulars, some now having been visiting since they fledged. The RSPB No Mess seed mix really is a top mix.


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Eww the fox crapped on the lawn. Fox on the patio. Blue Tit. Great Tit and Blue Tit. Great Tit and Goldfinch.